PIERS MORGAN LIVE: R.I.P.

Piers Morgan – depending on which account you read – has either been dropped by CNN, has decided to leave, or a mix of the two.

Morgan, who replaced Larry King at the plum 9:00PM prime time spot three years ago because King – once CNN\’s highest-rated host – had been dropping viewers right and left (literally), was charged with bringing the audience back.  Instead, due (in my opinion) to his cold, arrogant, condescending way, the numbers just kept dropping anyway. 

I\’ll give Morgan credit for a pretty honest appraisal of what took him down, though.  As reported in David Carr\’s New York Times article, he said:

“It\’sbeen a painful period and lately we have taken a bath in the ratings.

“Look,I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns,which has been very polarizing, and there is no doubt that there aremany in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it. That\’s run its course and Jeff and I have been talking forsome time about different ways of using me.”

Fair enough. 

Morgan\’s obsessive, and extremely unpleasant, way of attacking the second amendment probably caused a lot of anger among some people (though anger with a host can be as much a reason to tune in to his/her show as agreement.  Illustratively, the enormously successful Howard Cosell was, for many years, both the most liked and disliked sportscaster of them all).

Another Morgan quote:

“I\’min danger of being the guy down at the end of the bar who is alwaysgoing on about the same thing…thisBritish guy telling them how to lead their lives and what they shoulddo with their guns.”

Yep.  

But, candid though Mr. Morgan might be, all the salient quotes in the world are not meaningful to his show\’s demise.  The one and only reason Piers Morgan Live has died is ratings.  Period. 

If enough viewers tuned in – even if it were for no reason other than to throw popcorn at the TV screen and curse the day he was born (using language that will never be heard on Downton Abbey, I assure you) – he would be a shining CNN star.

Simply put, Piers Morgan\’s demise has nothing to do with him being controversial and unlikable.  It has everything to do with him being boring compared to other cable news alternatives.  End of story.

Oh, one other thing.  Larry King, now over 80 and doing interviews on the Russia Today network (which, I suspect, even Vladimir Putin would switch off in favor of Gilligan\’s Island reruns), has been quoted as saying he\’d come back if CNN wants him.

Don\’t bother hanging around by the phone, Larry….

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